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716 BSKE bets face illegal campaign raps

MANILA, Philippines — Over 700 candidates running in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30 have been ordered to answer allegations of illegal campaigning.

The Commission on Elections has issued show cause orders to 716 BSKE candidates for violating campaign rules, according to Comelec Chairman George Garcia.

On Monday alone, Garcia said the Comelec issued 375 show cause orders for illegal campaigning.

He said the poll body has taken down illegally posted campaign materials as well as gender-insensitive jingles that are prohibited under Comelec guidelines.

“Violations of Comelec guidelines can be a criminal election offense and ground for disqualification,” Garcia said.

For premature campaigning, the Comelec has filed disqualification cases against 181 candidates, who were among the more than 7,000 bets who were given show cause orders.

Upon initial assessment, Garcia said 338 candidates may possibly be charged for premature campaigning. The Comelec dropped 868 complaints for lack of basis.

The Comelec has approved a resolution suspending the proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification cases.

In case the proclamation of a winning candidate for barangay chairman has been suspended, Garcia said the councilor with the most number of votes would temporarily assume the post.

Winners in the village and youth council elections will start their term on Dec. 11.

The Supreme Court (SC) has denied with finality the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)’s plea to reconsider its June 27 decision declaring as unconstitutional Republic Act 11935, which postponed the BSKE originally scheduled in December 2022.

According to the SC Public Information Office, the high court denied the OSG’s motion for reconsideration as the arguments raised are only mere reiterations of those considered and passed upon in the June 27 ruling.

The SC said that while the power of Congress to legislate all matters of general concern or common interest is broad and plenary, “it is limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly,” which includes the due process clause.

In reaction to the SC ruling, the Comelec said it is ready to conduct the